It’s going to be a very special Franco-German rendezvous: on 22 January 2013, the Reichstag building in Berlin will become a meeting place for the parliaments and governments of the two neighbouring countries. The MPs from the German Bundestag and the French National Assembly will be coming together for a joint meeting in the Chamber. Both French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make a speech.
At the political ceremony in Berlin, Germany and France will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty (22 January 1963) and recall how their partnership began. The Treaty was signed by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle and placed relations between the two countries on a new footing following several wars. The Treaty became a foundation for intensive bilateral cooperation in politics, the economy, culture and society. Franco-German reconciliation and friendship also made an important contribution to European integration. This was honoured when the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
Andreas Schockenhoff, Chair of the German-French Parliamentary Friendship Group, says the joint meeting of the two parliaments in Berlin is a unique event: “I know of no other such example anywhere in the world.” The meeting was “far more than a formal act.” It showed that “Franco-German cooperation has a very different quality of its own,” said Schockenhoff to the newspaper Das Parlament. At the political level the Berlin ceremony on 22 January 2013 represents the highlight of the Franco-German Year 2012/2013.
The overriding aim of the Year and its numerous events is to reach out to the young generation. This is also why the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) is organizing a four-day youth forum to mark the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty in Berlin in the run-up to 23 January 2013. About 150 young people from France, Germany and other FGYO partner countries will discuss, among other things, how young people can contribute to the Franco-German and pan-European debates.
Ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty on 22 January 2013 in Berlin